Strap yourself in for our
jet-propelled new issue.
Soft landing guaranteed
The concepts that were created out of Berlin's Weissensee School of Art focused heavily on new forms of personal and public transportation. Student designs included the MONO, a sculpted three-wheeler for a single commuter, to the Vertigo concept for a small city car that can be racked up in stackable parking spaces. The 'i rise up' concept features a collapsible wheelbase that enables the car to take up less space when it comes to finding a tight parking spot, while the VIO is a box on wheels, eschewing all conventional car design traits to make the most practical and space efficient way of person transit. The small-format BMW bus design takes the company's design language and applies it to public transportation, bringing long-established brand values and expertise into an undervalued sector. Student designs went beyond new car form factors to also examine interior design, information technology and car ownership and ride-sharing. Designs explored how steering wheel and systems displays would evolve, together with the role of smartphone connectivity and innovative design in steering social attitudes towards a long-term pattern of change.
The 11-strong student team from Berlin's Weissensee School of Art, working under tutor and architect Niklas Galler, continued to examine the form factors that would determine the road transportation of tomorrow, honing their designs and studying every aspect of road use, from journey length to the need to park, communicate, share information and space with other road users. BMW i designer Kai Langer oversaw a design workshop with the students, helping direct and shape their research. Using BMW's existing brand as a starting point, the students sketched up eight concept vehicles, ranging from one-person tricycles to city buses.
The 11 students in the team from Berlin's Weissensee School of Art, overseen by lecturer and architect Niklas Galler, analysed the way their city and its inhabitants approached personal transportation. The initial findings have focused on access rather than ownership. 'Future customers do not have to choose mobility modes by purchasing vehicles,' says Galler, who leads Berlin-based studio nr21 Design, explaining that the wide range of necessary options, from single, one-person trips to family holidays or object moving will always be a part of everyday life. 'Vehicle sharing concepts will influence future vehicle technologies and structures, as well as the material choice,' says Galler, and the students have been exploring ways in which connectivity, communications and interiors will evolve to deal with the broad demands of society. Preliminary ideas range from concepts for ultra lightweight single-person vehicles through to emerging service providers offering a portfolio of vehicles of differing sizes and abilities. The concepts will build on existing technology and accelerating consumer demand, creating a 'radical and consistent response to the ongoing debate of future mobility.'
Berlin's School of Art and Design Berlin Weissense is one of the city's preeminent institutions, founded partly from the ashes of the Bauhaus but also hugely influenced by the directorship of the architect Mart Stam. Restructured in the reunification era, the KHB now sits at the heart of a city with a recent history of constant change. Niklas Galler, who heads up Berlin-based nr21 Design, is also a lecturer at the KHB. His involvement with the BMW Neighbourhoods project will focus on the evolution and demand for all forms of urban mobility. 'How do we move from A to B in the future?', he asks, 'How do vehicle archetypes develop when there is a change of structural demands?'. Using Berlin as a canvas for new ideas, KHB's collaboration with Wallpaper* and BMW is a testbed for site-specific mobility, an exploration of a reinvented city in search of new challenges.
Berlin’s character and dynamism are derived from its fractured past. The post-reunification city is architecturally rich and its infrastructure complex, with a burgeoning cycling culture co-existing with public and private transport. Low car ownership and a walkable centre make it receptive to new ideas.
This 500 square mile city has become globally synonymous with endless sprawl and quasi-religious automotive culture. Known for its infamous smogs, which kick-started California’s draconian and innovative pollution legislation, LA remains utterly reliant on the car – yet its citizens are willing to seek out new ideas.
A city of parks, pagodas and bus routes, Hangzhou is typical of China's second tier urban centres, with modern life threaded through an often beautiful existing fabric. Still fast expanding, with a metro line in the works and a burgeoning tech centre, the city is home to thousands of students and a growing private transportation sector.
London presents an enormous challenge to future mobility. Due to the intense pressure on its public transport infrastructure, London was a pioneer of congestion charging. But the capital’s historic core ensures that change has to be pragmatic, innovative and realised to an exceptional standard.
Tokyo’s massive rail-based infrastructure serves its commuting-dependent but crush-weary population efficiently but uncomfortably. With a hi-tech-friendly, rapidly regenerated urban landscape, Tokyo’s relationship to personal mobility is open to change and innovation.
The Parisian mobility experience is one of dense layers and much-needed local knowledge. One of the most walkable capitals, Paris rewards the urban explorer, whether on foot or on bike. France has led with city bike schemes, and its Vélib’ is one of the world’s largest. A free-spirited metropolis with headspace for change.